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SMIC and Sanechips score China first with NB-IoT chip

Steve Rogerson
October 5, 2017
Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC) and Sanechips have announced the first commercial NB-IoT chip designed and manufactured in mainland China.
SMIC is one of the leading semiconductor foundries in the world and the largest and most advanced in mainland China, and Sanechips Technology – previously named ZTE Microelectronics – specialises in telecoms and information technology.
The two companies have jointly announced the launch of RoseFinch 7100, which is the first commercial NB-IoT chip designed and manufactured by mainland Chinese firms independently. Based on SMIC's 55nm technology, the chip can be used in wireless meters, shared bikes, smart appliances, smart city, smart agriculture and other IoT fields.
"I am very glad to work closely with Sanechips to promote the design, manufacturing and commercialisation of NB-IoT chips in mainland China," said Mike Rekuc, executive vice president of SMIC. “This achievement fills the gap in the China market and conforms to SMIC's consistent IoT technology development strategy as well.”
The 55nm platform is focused for use on low-power IoT applications. The process and performance improvements are based on the stable 55nm logic and mix-signal technologies. The nominal operating voltage can be lowered 30%, and the device will reduce 45% of dynamic power consumption and 70% of static power consumption, as well as lowering the SRAM leakage.
Furthermore, the platform is compatible with RF and e-flash technologies. It is claimed to meet the strict requirements of NB-IoT for low standby power consumption and small package size.
Its sleep power is 2µA, which accounts for 16% of its total power consumption while sending and receiving messages once per day. In addition, RoseFinch 7100 uses a single chip design with few peripherals and supports R14 full band with integrated cloud-chip security performance as well as open application architecture.
"SMIC's strong manufacturing capabilities effectively guaranteed the commercialisation of Sanechips' new generation of NB-IoT chip, RoseFinch 7100, on time," said Long Zhijun, vice president of Sanechips. “According to the test results, the chip's function and performance all met the expected requirements and achieved leading industry benchmarks in several core indicators of IoT related applications, including sleep power consumption, cut-off voltage and peripheral interface quantity, with the obvious advantages of low cost and low power consumption. The chip will further revolutionise the IoT industry. Other NB-IoT commercial products will meanwhile be launched by collaborating with several partners. This world-leading chip is catching up to the launch schedules of China's big three telecoms operators and can help customers seize the best time to enter the market."
Headquartered in Shanghai, SMIC has an international manufacturing and service base. In China, it has a 300mm wafer fabrication facility and a 200mm mega-fab in Shanghai; a 300mm mega-fab and a majority-owned 300mm fab for advanced nodes in Beijing; 200mm fabs in Tianjin and Shenzhen; and a majority-owned joint-venture 300mm bumping facility in Jiangyin. Additionally, in Italy SMIC has a majority-owned 200mm fab. SMIC also has marketing and customer service offices in the USA, Europe, Japan and Taiwan, and a representative office in Hong Kong.
ZTE Microelectronics was established in 1996, has 20 years R&D experience with 3000 patents and more than 2000 employees located at nine R&D centres in China, Canada and the USA. Now called Sanechips, it is paying close attention to NB-IoT and 5G chipsets that it believes can generate tens of millions of shipments.